It hadn't been the first assassination attempt and it certainly hadn't been the last but it had come closest to actually succeed. Erza was furious - with the would-be assassins for even trying, the palace guards for not stopping them, Jellal himself for not reacting faster - but most of all, she was furious with herself. When she had heard that there had been an attack on the King which had actually injured the man, her first reaction had been fear. She had been afraid for him, wondering if he had been alright. Him, Jellal, not her King but her lover. And that was unacceptable. What they had going on was purely physical. She wouldn't care for him on a personal level, she wouldn't, she repeated to herself as she glared at the man in question who was trying his best to ignore her while trying to conduct a Council meeting.
"Wow, Erza, one would think you want to finish what those assassins have started," Hughes said jokingly from his seat across the table before she turned the glare on him.
"Maybe I do," she bit out, her anger almost palpable. The people around the table shifted uneasily. They wanted to think it was just a joke but you never knew with Erza. Jellal himself sighed as he gave up any pretense of ignoring her. He had meant to talk to her about her strange mood later on but the way she carried on, it was unlikely it would work.
"What have I done now, Captain?" there was a resignated undertone in his voice. Erza being angry with him was nothing new though the occurence had become rarer since they had started their liaison. "Aside from almost being killed, that is," he added sarcastically.
"Well, aside from that," she matched his tone, "there's also the fact that you are letting those assholes go."
Jellal massaged the bridge of his nose tiredly.
"They're being shipped off to a prison to serve a life sentence even as we speak. I'm not letting them go."
"They should have been executed," Erza smacked the table for emphasis. "It was a deliberate, direct attack on the Crown. That's punishable by death."
"I don't want to kill people, Captain!"
"Well, sometimes you have no choice but to make an example out of someone!"
"What good would it serve?" Jellal countered, standing up and supressing a wince that came with a pain from his left leg which had been injured during the attack.
"So no one else would try again. If you are lenient like this, they will think they can get away with it and they WILL try again! You are just encouraging other attempts!" Erza left her seat during her tirade, stomping towards him. Hughes leaned to Sugarboy who was sitting next to him.
"Fifty that she slaps him," he muttered to his comrade who nodded slowly.
"Another fifty she kicks his injured leg," Sugarboy replied and offered a hand to shake under the table.
"Sugoi!" Hughes breathed out. "Easy money."
"A hundred she finds out and beats you up for betting on her," Coco piped up from her place on the other side of Hughes although it looked like Erza was fully focused on the man in front of her.
"You are too soft and because of that, you might die next time!" she was just winding down when Jellal shook his head.
"Well, nice to know you care-"
"I don't!" Erza denied vehemently. "I could care less what happens to you but since you are our King and all, your death would be bad for Edolas and that is unacceptable!"
Jellal knew he shouldn't have been hurt by her words. She had been telling him over and over that she didn't give a damn about him aside from their brief flings and even then it was more about the physical side of the things than the emotional one but it still hurt, hearing her declare her indifference to him in such a public manner.
"There's certainly no denying that you are an expert when it comes to not caring," he spoke quietly so nobody would overhear.
"What does that mean?" she hissed, dropping her voice down as well while people in the room exchanged confused glances at being suddenly left out of the loop.
"That means, Captain Knightwalker," he emphasised her title, "that you are a cold-hearted bitch who doesn't give a damn about anything and I was an idiot for thinking otherwise."
It suddenly dawned on her what he was alluding to.
"Are you talking about our affair?"
"It's an affair now?" he feigned surprise. "I thought it was merely you deigning to entertain me now and then," he mocked her own words from one of their encounters.
"I never asked you to care for me," she flung back at him.
"No, you just let me think that you are capable of positive feelings."
They were quickly straying off the topic and it wasn't really something to be discussed in a public place like this. Erza straightened up.
"You have no idea about my feelings, positive or otherwise so shut up."
"Well, that's not my fault, is it? You are the one who never speaks about them, unless it's an anger you feel," Jellal was determined to not back down this time. The public setting stopped Erza from becoming physical in any way and he wanted to take an advantage of the fact. But she wasn't about to let him. She took a couple of steps back from him, prompting relieved sighs from those occupants of the room who had been fearing for Jellal's health.
"Yes, Your Majesty, I'm very vocal about my anger and you know very well you are pissing me off with your soft-heartedness," she bit out. "If I may be excused before I do something rash."
"Not like I can stop you, Captain," Jellal replied defeatedly. Erza turned sharply and stalked out of the room but she paused for a moment to smack both Sugarboy and Hughes upside the head, ignoring the bewildered stares of the rest of the people. Jellal grimaced and sank back to his seat, rubbing his leg distractedly to soothe the stinging pain.
"Let's continue where we left off," he suggested and tried his best to focus on the next order of business.
Jellal didn't come to Erza's room that night. Usually, after an argument like that, he would have sought her out to further argue the point and more often than not, it would lead to either an angry sex - when they couldn't reach a compromise - or a make-up one - when they did agree. But he didn't come and Erza didn't know what to think.
It was very likely that with his injured leg he couldn't sneak out as easily as he usually did. She had personally ordered an increased security in the residential wing of the palace and a threat of what she would do to them for screwing up on her watch probably kept the guards alert. She could easily come to him but what for? She didn't care for him. He was a ruler she followed, a symbol of the country she served with all of her heart. The fact that he was also her, for a lack of a better word, lover didn't matter much. She had made a difference in her mind between Jellal the King and Jellal the lover. But when that assassination attempt had happened, those two images had merged in her head into one and that shouldn't have happened.
Erza turned in the bed until she laid on her right side, facing the large window beyond which the Royal City slept. After that first encounter, they had agreed that they wouldn't make more out of it than it was - two stressed out people seeking release. They didn't have a relationship, they had a secret sex and lots of anger and she liked to dig her nails into his back and have him call her a sadistic bitch and he had a strange fetish for her neck, covering it in love bites which she had to always hide the next day and...
Erza sat up, her hands going into her growing hair, clutching at it convulsively. They didn't have a relationship. They had sex, nothing more and she shouldn't feel so guilty for telling him she didn't give a damn. Their arrangement had been working out just fine until Jellal had taken it into his head to try and change it. And she had been a fool to give into his seemingly innocent requests of cuddling together in the post-sex euphoria or being just that little bit more playful during the act itself. Now she couldn't get him out of her head.
"Fuck you Jellal!" she whispered angrily into the darkness of her room. She wasn't supposed to care. It created a conflict of interests, it could hurt the Kingdom if it came out that the King had been screwing one of his Captains and it would revive those rumours that she had gotten into her position through spreading her legs. It had taken her several years to extinguish those malicious murmurs and she didn't feel like doing so again. And if Jellal had bothered to come, she would have told him all of her reasons so he would understand why it was better not to drag feelings into their... thing.
A tearing sound brought Erza out of her increasingly depressing thoughts. She was shredding her coverlet as she absentmindedly flexed her fingers in it. This wasn't like her at all. She wasn't someone who doubted and second-guessed themselves. She was a woman of action who didn't hesitate in her doings. If she wanted to do something, she did it. If she wanted to say something, she said it. And if she wanted to clear up the air after an argument in the usual fashion than she was going to do so, even if it meant going into Jellal's room.
With her course of action clear, she stood up, dressing quickly in her armor and she slipped out of her room, being careful not to get spotted. The guards patrolling the corridors were making a considerable effort to stay alert and spot any potential intruders but they were no match for her. It was easy to hide from the passing patrols and Erza made sure to remember all of the places where she had hidden herself so that she could point it out later on to the oblivious guards.
Only once did she almost get caught and that had more to do with the fact that the guards were talking with each other and she itched to reprimand them. But even though she could have said she was checking up on them, the fact that she was roaming the corridors close to the King's room would be commented on. But even without that, the gossip centered on her.
"I heard that Captain Bitch chewed out the King again."
"No way! What for?"
"For almost getting himself killed," came a snickered reply.
"Talk about a hard-ass. What the hell does she want from the poor man?"
"His balls on a silver platter, most likely."
"She could use a good screw, though. Would do wonders for her attitude."
"Ya think there's anyone suicidal enough to try?"
Both of the guards laughed at that and Erza had to dig her nails into her palm to stop herself from revealing her presence. She had more important matters to attend to. But in the morning, she would have a nice chat with those men.
The door to his room wasn't locked and Erza rolled her eyes in annoyance. He was practically asking any assassins to come and take a crack at him with how lax he was with the basic security. Given that it had been proven that the palace guard was not always able to protect him, it was a stupid move on his part.
She slipped inside easily, letting her eyes adjust to the semi-darkness of the room, what with the moon and the city lights lighting the insides adequately to see. She could make out his form in the bed, obviously asleep. She grinned to herself, creeping closer to the bed. Seeing him that vulnerable woke up the predator in her. He tried to present himself as a strong but benevolent leader to the others but she could see behind the mask and took great pleasure in cracking it. She hated to admit it but there was a small part of her that delighted in being the only one allowed to see his weakness, no matter how much she pretended it annoyed her.
She slowly climbed on the bed, taking care to not disturb him. He shifted a bit in his sleep, one of his arms thrown carelessly over his head while the other laid on his stomach. She trailed her fingers down that arm and then took his hand and pulled it up to join his other arm above his head. Unwinding her scarf from her neck, she used it as a makeshift rope to immobilize his arms and tied them to a headboard. With his injured leg, Jellal was now at her mercy and Erza leaned down to kiss him.
He mumbled her name in his sleep and she smirked. She pulled the covers away and started to unbutton his shirt, caressing his chest and stomach as she went down. His unconscious reaction was clearly visible under the thin fabric of his sleeping pants and Erza decided it was time to wake him up. She pinched his nipple sharply.
"Ouch! What the-" Jellal tried to sat up but his tied arms pulled him back down. He blinked owlishly at the shadowed figure kneeling next to him and he tried to sit up again.
"You're not getting up until I let you," Erza stated, amused by his struggling. He relaxed at her voice immediately.
"Erza? What are you doing here? And why am I tied up?"
"We need to talk and I like you being at my mercy," she dropped her voice at the end, giving it a husky quality that made him shiver in expectation.
"Is that supposed to scare me?"
"Not really, Your Majesty," she said as she stretched herself out next to him, once again stroking her hand up and down his torso, noticing how his breath caught in his throat. "It's suposed to make it clear who's in charge."
"As if there was any doubt," he muttered and Erza pinched him again.
"Stop being a smart-ass. You are in enough trouble with me as it is."
"And why would that beeee-" his voice broke into a groan because she slipped her hand into his pants and started stroking him.
"You made assumptions about me."
Her hand squeezed him to the point of pain before releasing him and softly massaging him again. Jellal's head fell back, his mind holding on to the conversation with some difficulty.
"What... assumptions... Erza?"
"That I don't care," she whispered into his ear and bit down lightly on the lobe.
"But you said-"
"We were in public and this is a private business. Out there, you are my King. In here, you are my lover. We need to keep that distinction clear."
"Why should we?"
"Because people talk and make assumptions of their own."
She stopped her hand motions and sat up, undoing her armor and dropping it to the side of the bed. He watched her as she undressed and wanted to reach out to run his hands all over her but couldn't.
"I don't care what they say," he remarked, tugging at her scarf but she tied it firmly and didn't give much.
"But I do, Jellal. Raise your hips," she commanded as she pulled his pants down and then straddled his thighs, leaning over his torso as his member bumped against her abdomen. "You would come out of it a hero, for bedding the terrifying Captain Knightwalker and living to tell about it. But I would be just another female slut who got her position through sleeping with her superior."
"But that's not true," he protested, appaled at how anyone could think that Erza hadn't earned her position through her own skills and abilities alone.
"You think they would care? That's how it works in the real world. I learned to accept it and you should, too."
She kissed him lightly and started stroking his arousal again.
"Isn't this enough?" she asked as she slid down his body and looked up from her position by his legs. "What we have, what we do. It's about us. Why drag anyone else into it?"
Not giving him a chance to reply, she took a long lick along his member and sucked at the head briefly, stalling any reply he might have made as his thoughts scattered at her actions. She had sucked him off before and everytime she did, the pretended submission of this proud woman made him see stars.
"Not fair!" he gasped out. "Can't think... clearly... when you do that..."
She leaned forward more, engulfing him in the hot moistness of her mouth and used her tongue to press him against the roof of her mouth. She pulled up slowly, lightly scraping her teeth against him and then blew lightly at his wet cock.
"That's why I'm doing it, Jellal."
"Thank you," Erza replied easily and bent her head again to repeat her actions. She moved her head up and down, making sure to always exert some kind of pressure on his cock, be it her tongue, teeth or pursed lips. He was bucking up his hips, his arms stretched out in their makeshift bondage as he tried to get her to go further, deeper on him. She denied him, making sure to only take the head in, swirling her tongue in a distracting pattern across the top.
"Erza!" he groaned pleadingly and she paused, her face hovering over his twitching cock as her breath fell in short puffs and teased him further.
"Since you asked so nicely," she commented and finally took mercy on him. She enveloped the lower half in her hand, stroking surely, her saliva making it easy to slide her hand up and down. She swallowed the upper half and bobbed her head on him, pressing and teasing and nipping until he was moaning and groaning under her. And then she lightly squeezed his balls, scraped her nails along the tender skin and he came hard, his seed spurting out across her breasts as she jerked him off until he was spent.
Erza stood up, striding to his attached bathroom and came back with a bowl and a rag, cleaning them both up. Once she was done, she sat on his thighs, letting him catch his breath.
"Do you understand my position, Jellal? I can't show that I care beyond what's expected of me."
"Untie me and we can discuss it more," he suggested, his arms almost falling asleep by then.
"No," she refused and licked at his chest, catching a nipple in her teeth and tugging. "I told you I like you all helpless like this."
"That's what has you coming back, though."
"You were the one who came to me tonight," he pointed out and Erza stopped what she was doing.
"I was being considerate of your injury."
"So you do care," he said with a triumph but she levelled him with one of her famous looks.
"We have already established that."
"So where does that leave us?" he asked, wishing he could prop himself up at least so they could talk more face-to-face.
"Where we have been until now."
"Secret lovers, huh?" Jellal mumbled disappointedly and Erza frowned.
"What's so bad about it?"
"Nothing. But it could be better."
"Jellal!" she warned, not wanting the subject to be breached.
"Can't you at least give it some thought?"
She looked at his pleading expression and felt her resolve to keep things simple and uncomplicated crumble. It was dangerous, giving into his plea, she knew that but there was only so far her denial could take her.
"I'll think about it."
The silence fell down on them before Erza moved again. She reached over, untying his hands. Jellal shook them out to get rid of the cramps and then pulled her down on him until they laid pressed together, their mouths coming together in a deep kiss. It wasn't long before Jellal rolled them over, putting her under him and he took her face in his hands, studying her intently.
"It's getting harder to keep myself from falling in love with you," he admitted, watching as her eyes widened in shock. "Just warning you."
"You can't order me around, Erza. And I don't care if you won't be able to return my feelings the same. Just as long as you care at least a little bit, I'll be content."
"You idiot!" she said, falling back on insulting him because there was a moment when her heart beat just a little bit harder at his confession and suddenly she was more scared than ever before.
"I'll win you over, Erza Knightwalker, no matter how much you will resist."
"I-" she couldn't find any words to say to that and so Jellal leaned in and kissed her again, with just a touch of desperation to it. And Erza gave in because it was easier to act than to think and the panic that threatened to seize her ebbed away for the time being as Jellal spread her legs and entered her, both of them easily falling into the familiar rhythm and movements.
She crossed her legs over his back, pulling him deep inside and he latched his mouth onto her neck, biting at his favourite spots as he shoved into her again and again, their pants and groans echoing in the room as they moved in sync, trying to reach a climax of their passion together.
Erza arched her back to get him even closer and Jellal dropped his head in between her heaving breasts, sucking at her nipples in turns. She dug her strong fingers, calloused from years of fighting, into his shoulders and he raised her hips towards him to accommodate him even better. It was as fast and desperate as many of their other joinings but there was an undercurrent of something else, something new between them and Jellal focused on that feeling while Erza tried to forget it.
They crashed together, a long keening sound coming from Erza's mouth as her head fell back, her inner muscles contracting around Jellal's cock, pulling him across the edge with her and he shouted a muffled curse as he spilled himself into her, the fading contractions of her inner walls drying him up of everything he had to give.
He stayed inside her, cradling her body close to his and she didn't even protest against his weight on top of her. He raised his head to drop a kiss on her sweat-soaked forehead and she tightened her arms around his neck, hiding her face in his shoulder.
"Stay the night?" he asked and she nodded, giving into him at least until the morning. Because even though she knew how dangerous it was to stay and indulge herself, she couldn't bring herself to leave either. She would face the consequences later. For a single night, she would stop denying her feelings. For a single night.